The time has come. The English Nintendo Switch otome game library is expanding. Otomate games are on the way, with Aksys leading the charge with a familiar face. The Code: Realize Switch port has arrived and, while this is a game we’re now seeing for the third time in English, it’s still a welcome prospect.
As a quick review, in case this is the first time for people, Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ is a supernatural and steampunk visual novel from Idea Factory and Otomate. Players follow a young woman named Cardia with a rather unusual condition: she’s poisonous. Her touch and blood can kill, and an unusual gem called the Horologium lodged in her chest. Her father abandoned her in a mansion, told her never to leave it, and for a while she obeyed his directives. That is, until soldiers came in and force her to leave. In the midst of this, the thief Arsene Lupin and takes her away, hoping to help her find her father and use her aid to stop some serious attacks in the city. As she heads to London, the group expands to include the inventive Impey Barbicane, a mad scientist named Victor Frankenstein, the mysterious Saint-Germain, and Vampire War veteran Abraham Van Helsing. Finding out who she is and who is after her eventually leads to answers and possibly love.
While the Code: Realize Switch version doesn’t have the same benefit of the PlayStation 4 release, which gave people the base game and the fandisc, it has other things going for it. You can take it anywhere with you, which is an ideal situation for visual novels in general. But it feels better here than on the PlayStation Vita, as you have a larger screen and better audio quality in handheld mode. Should you be at home and feel like a better view of its lavish CGs, popping the system into the dock lets you enjoy even better audio quality and have the opportunity to enjoy all those details on a larger screen. It’s a best of both worlds situation.
It’s also something of an accomplishment for Nintendo Switch otome games. There have been more than a few released on the system, all of varying degrees of quality. But we haven’t seen physical releases happen yet. (PlayStation Vita owners had plenty to choose from, sometimes even with special editions.) Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ is an ushering in of a new age, one in which we not only get quality romantic visual novels, but ones that we can have in a form that we can keep and collect.
Especially since, well, there even is a limited edition. In terms of quality, some of the items included in the Code: Realize Switch collector’s edition are more durable and exciting than others. The plastic keychain is quite nice and detailed, with Cardia and the five bachelors well-represented. The soundtrack is also great, with 25 songs from the game and gorgeous art of Cardia on the CD itself. (Unfortunately, the jewel case doesn’t have a track listing on the back of it.) The only disappointing element is the art book, which is more of a 58-page pamphlet where only 19 pages are in color and there aren’t as many full examples of art or concept art from the game as you might expect.
Still, Code: Realize Switch is a very welcome and friendly face. The story is one of Otomate’s best, with a heroine who isn’t some fawning, faceless individual who capitulates to the will of whoever you happen to be pursuing. The art is gorgeous and looks great whether you’re playing in handheld mode or docked. The physical and collector’s editions are a welcome prospect. It is definitely a fine addition to the Switch otome game lineup and great way to usher in an era of English Otomate games.
Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita.